Are Long-Distance Relationships Real?


Are-Long-Distance-Relationships-Real

Long-distance relationships can certainly feel real. But is it a real relationship when you can’t touch your romantic partner?

A real relationship includes all aspects of being with someone, physically and emotionally. In a long-distance relationship, a lack of physical closeness changes the reality of your relationship. While you can have an emotional connection with someone who is away, there’s no way to share anything you can’t express in words.

When you are in a healthy relationship, you have someone you trust, with whom you can share your day and hug at night. When someone you love holds your hand, you know you are not alone. 

In a long-distance relationship, there’s no one to hold you. You are physically alone, and the only reassurance is your partner talking to you. But you can’t always use words to express how you feel. And a single touch can express the things no words can.

The longer your long-distance relationship lasts, the more you will be deprived of physical intimacy. And if your long-distance relationship lasts too long, you may also lose touch with your physical reality.

Let me explain what I mean…


What is a long-distance relationship?

A long-distance relationship is a period in a relationship rather than a type of relationship.

You can have a relationship with a family member, a friend, or a romantic partner. Any of these can be long-distance. A long-distance relationship usually refers to a romantic relationship. And it’s the one we’ll be talking about here.

People find themselves in a long-distance relationship for two reasons:

  1. Couples who are together, but one of the partners needs to move for college or work
  2. Single people who want to start a new long-distance relationship online.

If you are in an existing relationship and for some time you need to keep it long-distance, then your relationship is just as real as before. Once you’ve been with a person and lived together, you know what they are like and you also know how you feel when you are with them.

So your relationship is as real as it gets, despite you having to keep it long-distance for a while. The only thing I’d like to mention here is that apart from a lack of physical intimacy, being away from your partner may change your perception of them. That’s why some couples break up after the reunion. They make it through a long-distance period of their relationship but after reuniting realise that they are no longer the best match for each other.

Other couples realise that they can’t be in a relationship without physical closeness and end their relationship after a few months of being apart.

If you expect a long-distance relationship to replace a real relationship, you will be disappointed.

Relationships are not about suffering, they exist for people to explore sharing and connection, not to deprive you of it.

But what about couples that have never met? Are long-distance relationships real for those who are starting their relationship online?


The reality of a long-distance relationship

Starting a new relationship online has now become very common. Online dating opens a world of possibilities to meet someone special who they wouldn’t meet otherwise. At the same time, it has its limitations, which we’ll discuss in a separate article.

The reality of long-distance relationships is that they aren’t meant to last a long time. They can work for a few months but after that, they get hard and can become more stressful than enjoyable. In a normal relationship, you are interacting with a person in front of you.

If you are starting a long-distance relationship, make sure you plan to see each other after a few months. If you already have an existing relationship make sure you plan to reunite.

In a long-distance relationship, most of your physical interaction is with a laptop. While you are having a video chat with a person, a part of you inevitably feels that something is missing. That something is a physical presence, a touch, an ability to look the other person in the eye and see their body language.

Effective communication can help you feel emotionally connected. Online games, internet sex toys, and occasional gifts can resemble physical connection. But none of these things replace physical intimacy, which is a big part of a romantic relationship. 

While you can maintain the emotional connection, the lack of physical closeness will become too much after some time. And as long as the distance is part of your relationship it will never feel complete. If you want your long-distance relationship to work, you will need a plan to close the distance.


Why long-distance relationships aren’t real

When we are talking about a romantic long-distance relationship, physical intimacy has to be part of it. If it’s not possible at the moment then you should at least have it in your future plans.

Long-distance relationships are much like virtual reality. It feels very real, but does it make it so? You can see the person you are talking to via a video call, but without feeling, tasting, or smelling it’s not a real experience.

When your partner is not physically present, your mind creates an image of what it would be like to have them. A lot of things about the other person are in part created by your imagination. Your mind fills the gaps of how they would feel, smell, taste, look, and sound. 

The longer you are in a long-distance relationship, the more your partner becomes a construct in your mind. The more time you leave between meetings the less real your partner becomes in your physical experience of the world. Despite this, your relationship feels very real, which is why it can be emotionally confusing.

Our mind distorts reality into something that we can understand. In a normal relationship, you see your partner every day, which allows you to calibrate what’s going on inside your mind with the actual reality of your relationship. This reality check isn’t possible in a long-distance relationship.

The longer you are away from your partner, the more they become who you want them to be rather than who they really are. This is also known as an idealisation. And if it lasts too long you may lose touch with reality and lose yourself in a virtual relationship. That’s why it’s important to have a plan for being and living together.


Do long-distance relationships feel real?

When you meet someone in real life, you get a certain feeling about that person. Sometimes you just click after the first touch and the first conversation. And sometimes you don’t.

Long-distance relationships feel real because you have strong emotions.  You can be away from the other person, but you spend a lot of time talking to them, so they are part of your life.

You can mimic physical touch with interactive kissing imitators and interactive remote underwear. And while it can be fun for a while, it’s not sustainable as a long-term relationship. Because no technology can replace the touch of your partner in a sensual way of closeness and connection.

While you can make your long-distance relationship feel real, until you are together, you will always feel like something is missing. This something is physical closeness. The kind of closeness that you expect from a romantic relationship.


Imagination vs reality of a long-distance relationship

Your feelings and emotions are very real for you. Everything you are feeling is created inside of you and is based on your previous experiences, your thoughts, and believes about the other person. But the fact is you won’t know how you feel next to them until you meet. Only then can you experience it for real.

In a long-distance relationship, you can expect to idealise your partner more than in a normal relationship. You are basically falling in love with your idea of love and how amazing you’d feel being next to them. But the reality is that this is what everyone thinks when they get together. Because being in love with an idea is different than being in love with a person. 

New couples go through a honeymoon period when they are idealising each other. A new long-distance relationship is a bit like that. If you are starting a relationship over a long-distance, take the time you need to get to know each other via online communication and during visits.

Your relationship only really starts when you move in and start living together.


Are long-distance relationships realistic?

Long-distance relationships are realistic but you need to make a plan. If you remain in this relationship for too long where the distance is between you, you and your partner will be suffering. As long as it lasts, you will have a lack of physical closeness and there’s a chance you will idealise your relationship.

If you expect a long-distance relationship to fulfill you in the same way as a real romantic relationship, you will be disappointed. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not possible to make it work.

Long-distance relationships lack physical interaction, but they can still feel very real. When you are away from your partner, you can’t have a reality check to know the state of your relationship. Without the physical feedback from your partner, it’s hard to navigate your relationship.


Conclusion

Long-distance relationships can be great if you want to get to know someone new or keep in touch with someone you know. But is it real when you can’t touch your romantic partner?

Physical intimacy is a big part of a romantic relationship. And when you don’t have it, after some time it can take a toll on your relationship. At some point, you start feeling deprived and will either look for ways to get it or will patiently suffer.

When you live together with your partner, you go through the same life experiences and catch up on a daily basis. This helps you feel connected and grow together as a couple. In a long-distance relationship, you and your partner have separate experiences. If this lasts long enough, you become different people from who you were before. You can talk on the phone and do video calling, but without physical closeness, it won’t be the same.

Some couples approach their long-distance relationship as a marathon. They believe that in making their relationship work, being together will justify the struggles and suffering. But the relationship isn’t a race. It’s about fun, sharing, and connection. You didn’t get into a relationship to suffer. You are in a relationship to explore sharing and connection, not to deprive yourself of it.

When you are in a long-distance relationship there’s no guarantee that you will stay together when you close the distance. And when you do get together, there’s no way to know how long it will last.

If you’ve never met someone, you can’t know what it is like being with them. When you visit each other, you get an idea of how your relationship with this person could be. But your real relationship begins only when you move in and start living together.


powered by Typeform

Getting Some Help

  • Assess how healthy is your relationship
  • Get a personalised response from a relationship coach
  • Get an insight into what is the real cause of your problems
  • Receive pointers on what you can do to improve your relationship

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a long-distance relationship?

A long-distance relationship is a period in a relationship rather than a type of relationship. You can have a relationship with a family member, a friend, or a romantic partner. Any of these can be long-distance. A long-distance relationship usually refers to a romantic relationship.
And it’s the one we’ll be talking about here.

Are long-distance relationships real relationships?

Long-distance relationships lack physical interaction, but they can still feel very real. When you are away from your partner, you can’t have a reality check to know the state of your relationship. Without the physical feedback from your partner, it’s hard to navigate the relationship.
Is it a real romantic relationship if you can’t have physical intimacy?

Why long-distance relationships are not real?

When your partner is not physically present, your mind creates an image of what it would be like to have them. A lot of things about the other person are in part created by your imagination. Your mind fills the gaps of how they would feel, smell, taste, look, and sound.
Read more

Do long-distance relationships feel real?

When we are talking about a romantic long-distance relationship, physical intimacy has to be part of it. If it’s not possible at the moment then you should at least have it in your future plans. Long-distance relationships are much like virtual reality.
It feels very real, but does it make it so?

Alex Larryngton

Hi, I’m Alex:) As a Relationship Coach, I am someone you come to when you feel stuck in a relationship and want to find a way out.

Recent Content